Here’s your guide to Black History Month events in Milwaukee

Owner and curator, Fatima Laster is photographed with Zsudayka Nzinga exhibit titled “all the pieces we leave behind” that is on display at 5 Points Art Gallery & Studios on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. The show runs through Feb. 26, 2022.

The daily grind of working in Chicago’s banking industry left Fatima Laster exhausted.

So Laster began exploring the love of painting she developed as a child growing up in Milwaukee. It became cathartic from the stress of a toxic workplace. She began producing abstract pieces that had movement and color.

“I found it to be challenging, but like invigorating. I wasn’t as exhausted,” Laster said. “I felt accomplished.”

Her pieces began to sell and soon she was showing them at pop-up galleries. She realized then she could do this professionally.

That was in 2010.

She quit her job a year later and returned to her Harambee neighborhood in Milwaukee. Within a few years, Laster opened her own art gallery there in 2018.  

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5 Points Gallery + Studio, 3514 N. Port Washington Ave., has eked out a name for itself showcasing outsider, contemporary and fine art from artists of color and other marginalized groups.

The goal, Laster said, is to make art not only accessible to Blacks, but to also showcase the diversity of artistic styles. 

For Black History Month, the gallery’s latest exhibition features the varying styles of a husband-and-wife duo out of Washington, D.C.

Zsudayka Nzinga’s exhibit is called “All the Pieces We Leave Behind” and focuses on collecting and honoring memories. The exhibit of her husband, James S. Terrell, is called “On A Lighter Note” and uses bold colors that mimic a stained-glass motif.

“Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker” by James S. Terrell from his exhibit “On The Lighter Note” that is on exhibit at 5 Points Art Gallery & Studios on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. The show runs through Feb. 26, 2022.

His artwork, Laster said, merges his profession as a pastor, musician and artist together.

“A lot of the composition is about jazz and music. It is very colorful, but he is rendering images of Black people and it is supposed to instill hope,” she said.

And the wife’s work is a collage of found materials of thrifted fabrics and African textiles blended with old family photos to evoke memories of families.

Angelia S. Rico

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